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| Kennedy's ^assinafl 0 ,, approached. Ladies' 
Home Journal Editor-in-Chief Myrna Blyth and 
Senior Edrtar jane Farrell went to Dallas to speak 
« nth the widow of Lee Harvey Oswald the 
Pendent's accused killer. Here, Marina Oswald 

* “ b “ U ' ,he . d °V changed oar na- 
tions history, and she tells what she now be- 
eves to be the truth about the assassination 

I Have lived with the guilt for so | on » Mari _ 
Pa ° Swa ' d Porter s ays intently. "For years I 

Tcid h hme done -Xg »a 

P^e ting fogefteTlL ^fofoZt foaTe? aTer 
H Oswald was not-as the Warren (continued) 


Myrna Blyth 

Jane Farrell 

"I - 


(continued) Commission said — the lone gunman who 
killed the president with a rifle fired from the Texas 
School Book Depository; and that the killing of Oswald 
by J ack Ruby was part of a cover-up. 

"I believe there was a conspiracy, that more than 
one person was involved,” Marina says firmly. "I do 
not necessarily believe that the bullet that came from 
the depository shot Presio.ent Kennedy. I don’t know if 
Lee shot him. I’m not saying that Lee 
is innocent, that he didn’t know about 
the conspiracy or was not part of it, 
but I am saying that he’s not necessar- 
ily guilty of murder. 

"It was a very complicated plot, bril- 
liantly executed. Could any intelligent 
person believe that that kind of thing 
was organized by one man?” 

"When Lee was arrested, I remem- 
ber he said, 'I’m a patsy,’ ” she contin- 
ues, drawing on one of the innumera- 
ble cigarettes she smokes throughout 
the day as she sits in her cool, dark 
living room in suburban Dallas. "I 
strongly believe that with all the evi- 
dence that has come to light, he proba- 
bly was telling the truth. I know I once 
testified that I looked in his eyes and I 
saw he was guilty. It seems very differ- 
ent now. I think back, and I realize that the look in his 
eyes was scared. 

"I think he was caught between two powers — the 
government and organized crime. Someone may have 
wanted Kennedy killed, but who was supposed to do 
what, I do not know.” 

Marina has never before publicly voiced her new 
beliefs, and she is frightened about being so outspo- 
ken. "What if they’re going to shoot me tomorrow? But 
I have to take a chance.” She points to her heart. "I am 
telling you what I really believe inside. 

"I don’t think that all this was about John F. Kenne- 
dy. It was more about Robert, who was going after 
organized crime, and who would not be attorney gen- 
eral anymore if his brother was killed. Or maybe John 
Kennedy s father told some people, 'You elect my son, 
and 1 11 do you a favor.’ And then the president puts his 
brother in office, and thejr start cleaning house. And 
that was against somebod/s wish. 

And at first I thought that Jack Ruby was swayed 
by passion; all America was grieving. But later we 
found that he had connections with the underworld. 
Now I think Lee was killed to keep his mouth shut.” 

Leaning back in a chair, Marina, drinking endless 
cups of black coffee, talks softly about the day twenty- 
five years ago when the police came to her door and 
told her that her husbancl had been arrested for the 
crime of the century. Her voice is still strongly tinged 

The lone assassin? 
Lee Harvey Oswald, 
with the rifle that 
investigators said 
was used to kill John 
F. Kennedy. Grief 
and fear: Marina — 
shown at Oswald's 
funeral — was afraid 
she and her children 
would be shot, too 


with the accent of her na- 
tive Russia, but Marina — 
forty-seven, trim, self-as- 
sured, with extraordinary 
blue eyes that are peaceful 
but piercing in their inten- 
sity — is very different 
from the terrified young 
wife and mother of 1963. 
Back then, she was twen- 
ty-two and had come to the 
United States from the So- 
viet Union only seventeen 
months before. She had 
met Oswald, an ex-Marine 
who had tried to become a 
Soviet citizen, in Minsk, 
where he was working. He 
had married her and 
brought her to Texas. Ma- 
rina could not speak En- 
glish, and she understood 
very little about America. 

On November 22, 1963, 
while she cared for her 
daughters, June, twenty- 
one months, and Rachel, 
an infant of four weeks, 
Marina watched televi- 
sion reports of President 
Kennedy’s arrival in Dal- 
las. At the time, Oswald 
and Marina were livihg 
, . apart, he in a boarding- 

house m Dallas near where he worked, and 
she in a suburban home.. Suddenly, Marina re- 
calls her landlady told her that the president 
had been shot. "I was crying and praying that 
God would spare his life,” she remembers, 
because he is a father.” She also remembers 
worrying, when she heard that the shooting had oc- 
curred outside the building where Oswald worked, 
that her husband, who had made threats against poli- 
ticians in the past, was somehow involved. 

As soon as I saw the police, I knew why they had 
come,” she recalls. "The thought crossed my mind, I 
hope it’s not Lee.” But her worst fears had come true. 

Marina, who was raised under the Stalinist regime, 
believed that she as well as Oswald would be put in jail. 
On the night of the assassination, she recalls, "I dreamed 
he was executed in the electric chair. It was terrifying.” 

In fact, she was so frightened by the prospect of 
Oswald being tried and executed that, she reluctantly 
acknowledges now, she was relieved when Ruby, a 
nightclub owner, shot Oswald two days after the assas- 
sination. "I’m ashamed to admit it, but I knew it would 
be better that way, that it was over with.” 

At that time Manna feared, too, for her own life, as 
well as that of her two daughters. "When I had to go to 
Parkland Hospital to identify Lee’s body and was 
walking up the steps, every step was like a mile,” she 
says. "I nearly fainted, I was so afraid. I thought we 
would be shot, too.” 

Within months of the assassination, Marina was 
called to testify before the Warren Commission, a gov- 
ernmental panel appointed to investigate the killing. 
The defendants widow became the prosecution’s star 
witness, as she testified that Oswald had (continued) 


AP/Wide World. 



(continued.) told her he fired a shot at a 
right-wing leader,, former Army Maj. Gen. 

Edwin Walker, in April 1963. 

The portrait Marina painted of Oswald 
was that of a secretive man who needlessly 
led a double life, spouted socialist political 
theories and physically abused her. Her tes- 
timony helped the commission in reaching 
its conclusion that Oswald was a deranged 
killer who acted alone, and that Oswald’s 
own killing was not tied to any conspiracy. 

Now, Marina says, she believes the com- 
mission led her to give testimony that would 
cast her husband in an unfavorable light. "I 
didn’t realize how they led me. I didn’t know 
you aren’t supposed to lead a witness. I 
think the Warren Commission used me as a 
spokesman to advance their theory of a sin- 
gle gunman, because it comes out stronger; 
after all, the wife knows.” She pauses and 
adds, "There was only a prosecution, no de- 
fense, and I buried him. I was introduced as 
a witness, and I became his executioner. 

"For years,” she says, "I didn’t think about 
him; I just felt guilty. For years, I blamed myself. I 
wondered if I could have changed things if our rela- 
tionship had been better. I didn’t think about the 
assassination, I didn’t read about the conspiracy 
theories — I didn’t; .even read the Warren Commis- 
sion report.” 

But in the past several years, Marina has begun to 
think again about the man to whom she had been 
married, and the crime he was accused of committing. 
And today she says she has a more mature and in- 
sightful view of Oswald’s conduct, and his part in the 
Kennedy assassination. What does Marina Oswald 
Porter think is the untold story of that day in Dallas? 
H Marina now believes that- Oswald was a government 
agent, at least for a time. "Now, looking back at his 
character, I can see that he had certain traits of profes- 
sional training, like being secretive, and I believe he 
worked for the American government. And he was 
taught the Russian language when he was in the mili- 
tary. Do you think that is usual, that an ordinary 
soldier is taught Russian? Also, he got in and out of 
Russia quite easily, and he got me out quite easily. 
How did this happen?” 

She also wonders if Oswald had rational reasons for 
actions that seemed inexplicable at., the time. On the 
night before the assassination, the Oswalds argued 
because Marina had discovered that her husband was 
living under an assumed name in the boardinghouse 
in Dallas. Today, Marina wonders if he had other 
reasons for his secretiveness. “Perhaps he told me so 
little because he was trying to protect me.” She also 
remembers thinking that Oswald was trying to send 

her back to the Soviet 
Union because their mar- 
riage was not working out. 
"Now, I see it differently,” 
she says. "Maybe my living 
in Russia with the children 
would have given him an 
excuse to go back and forth 
easily between the two 

B Marina points out, too, 
that Oswald admired and 
liked Kennedy. "Lee said he 
was good for the country,” 
she recalls. 

1] Marina also believes that 
George de Mohrenschildt, a 
friend of the Oswalds’ who 
occasionally visited their 
home, may have been part 
of the conspiracy. De Moh- 
renschildt, an aristocratic 
Russian exile who loved to 
talk politics with Oswald, 
killed himself in 1977 after 
saying that there was such 
a conspiracy. "His associa- 
tion with us, his befriending 
Lee, was very question- 
able,” Marina says. “We 
were poor people. Why us 1 ? 
Was George de Mohrens- 
childt what he seemed? 
Maybe he was going be- 
tween Lee and somebody 
else. Maybe he’s the one 
who told my husband what to do.” 

□3 In the months preceding the assassination, it has 
been reported that a man, behaving erratically, tried 
to pass himself off as Oswald in several public places 
in the Dallas area. The object? Possibly to establish 
the identity of an unbalanced man so that the real 
Oswald could be set up later as the president’s assas- 
sin. "There was another Oswald, and that’s no joke,” 
Marina says. “I learned afterward that someone who 
said he was Lee had been going around looking to buy 
a car, having a drink in a bar. I’m telling you, Lee did 
not drink, and he didn’t know how to drive. And after- 
ward the FBI took me to a store in Fort Worth where 
Lee was supposed to have gone to buy a gun. Someone 
even described me and said I was with him. This 
woman was wearing a maternity outfit like one I had. 
But I had never been there.” 

M Oswald’s cruelty, and his occasional displays of agi- 
tated emotion, may have been due to the pressure of 
his double life. "In his behavior, he was capable of 
acting like a wild dog,” Marina admits, "But he was a 
very loving father, and he loved me. How can one 
person have such contradictions? Maybe a psychiatrist 
would call it schizophrenic, but it could be the pressure 
he was living with as well. One time, when we were 
living in New Orleans, he broke down and cried. He 
seemed to have such a heavy burden that he wanted to 
share with me but couldn’t.” 

Marina also wonders if there were people who did 
know more about Oswald’s life, and the assassination, 
than they revealed. One, she suspects, who knew more 
than he told is the late FBI (continued on page 236) 

Now Marino lives 
a peaceful 
suburban life 
outside Dallas 
with her second 
husband, Kenneth 
Porter. But she is 
still haunted by 
the tragic events 
of twenty-five 
years ago 

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continued from page 188 

director, J. Edgar Hoover: "It’s a proven fact that the man did 
not reveal all he knew about the assassination, that cer- 
tain things had been covered up. Why?” The FBI was also 
eager to find out what if anything, Marina herself knew. 
FBI agents who visited her implied that if she did not tell 
all she knew about the assassination, and her life in Rus- 
sia, she might have problems staying in the United States. 

When I went to Washington to testify before the War- 
ren Commission,” she continues, "seven or more men met 
I ^ a P par ® ntly th ^y were all FBI. But when I shook hands 
f , Mr. Jloovf, who was with them ’ 1 was chilled from 
top to bottom. It was as if you met a dead person; he had a 
coldness like someone from the grave.” 

Marina, who says that Hoover kept her under surveil- 
lance for years adds caustically, "J. Edgar Hoover knew 

®^ ryt ^ mg - He kl \ ew when I was getting my next period, 
and when to send me my next boyfriend.” In the year 
following the assassination, in reaction to her ordeal, Mari- 
na went through a period of going to a singles club, casual 
■ dating and having a few drinks on her nights out. During 
at time, she feels, some of the men with whom she had a 

eWIv 11 * 3 F u BI agentS ’ and that she was watched 

closely so that if she ever changed her testimony about 

Oswald, the government would be able to discredit her 
But her marriage in 1965, to Dallas carpenter Kenneth 
Porter, brought a greater stability to Marina’s life. The 
couple moved to a Dallas suburb, and within a year she 
gave birth to Mark her third child. However, because of 

i S ’ Manna and her second husband had 
ifficult times, they quarreled frequently and in 1974 the 
two were divorced. However, they eventually worked out 


their differences, and they have lived together for the dam 
several years, though they have not remarried P St 

It is obvious that Marina and the tall, soft-spoken Portev 

0 care deeply for each other, and they are close to theb 
chfidren; Porter says Oswald’s two daughters "think of ml 
as them father. June, twenty-six, is a vice president^ 
a Dallas construction company, and Rachel, twenty-fi VB 
who bears a strong resemblance to Oswald, is a student % 

ta^ed y U T e u ity ; ^ arina and her daughters have nevej 
talked much about the assassination, and when ask P H 

™t eCt ‘ h lU: ad r the ^ sayfbfi% 

y ou 11 have to ask them. But she adds, "Ken has done a 
good job raising them.” The Porters’ youngest child, Mark 
twenty-two the only one of her children who is married 
works in a local garage. And this fall, Marina will become 
a grandmother. e 

1 spends most of her time taking care of her 
comfortable, roomy home, tending to her beloved plants 
and looking after the family dogs, Pal and Charlie. "I have 

I a “ C6 f lfe ’ says ' love m y life > and that Ken takes 
ca l e °/™ e - A11 1 ever wanted was to be a wife and mother ” 
iiut the assassination is never far from her mind, and 
she spends hours thinking about its inconsistencies, as 
well as the man who is at the center of the puzzle. 

1 loved him, and I grieved when he died,” she savs 
almost defiantly. "There’s always a question asked of m e : 
Did you love the man?’ Yes, I loved him. They ask me’ 
How can you love an assassin?’ I didn’t fall in love with the’ 
assassin, I fell m love with the man. 

* wouM not portray him as a saint,” she adds 
quietly. No way. But there was a good side to him. He 
knew quite a lot about literature and music; he loved Peer 
h-ynt. We shared certain things.” 

Murina s voice trails off, and it is a few moments before 

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she speaks again. "Y/henever Lee was hurt, I felt physical 
pain for him. With Kenneth, I don’t feel that way. But I 
feeWery comfortable. It’s a different kind of love . . . When 
you’re young you are more passionate. 

"After it happened,” she continues, speaking slowly, "I 
had a very peculiar dream. There was a mob, and it was 
very dark, but there was a light from above. The mob was 
after Lee, and I felt that I had to protect him. And there 
was a ladder; you couldn’t see the end of it. I felt so good 
that he went up it and was safe. They couldn’t touch him.” 

Marina acknowledges that that same protectiveness may 
be at the root of her need to find a new explanation for the 
assassination, and that she may be too willing to grasp at 
straws. "I have to be; very, very objective, because I want 
him to be innocent.” 

But at the same time, she says, she does not want anoth- 
er probe like the Warren Commission. "The dignitaries, 
those nice men in three-piece suits,” she says, for the first 
time showing a trace of bitterness. "They never do any- 
thing wrong; I don’t believe that anymore. I don’t believe 
the government always tells people the truth. Maybe some- 
day, though, the government will come to me and tell me 
the truth and say, 'I’m sorry, Mrs. Porter.’ ” Marina hopes, 
too, that the truth will be found by scholars when the 
Warren Commission materials are declassified. 

Perhaps because she does not trust any government, 
Marina has never become an American citizen. But she is 
quick to say, "I do feel that I’m a good citizen. I love the 
American people. My neighbors and friends have been 
wonderful to me. Without them, I could not have survived 
after the assassination.” 

And any cynicism dissipates as soon as Marina is asked 
about John F. Kennedy. When she speaks of the slain 
president, his widow, and his family, it is apparent how 
much pain their suffering has caused her. 

"I only want the Kennedys to have good health,” she 
says. "No matter how rich or how poor you are, two women 
still feel the same way underneath. Jackie has her heart- 
ache, just as I have mine. I wish her well. When Caroline 
had her baby, I was tickled pink. I was hoping for a healthy 
baby, and I’m glad she had one.” 

She pauses and adds awkwardly, "I’ll go to the grave 
believing that Lee adored John Kennedy. How do you 
think I learned to like John Kennedy?” 

It is such inconsistencies that make Marina almost des- 
perately eager to learn the whole truth about the assassi- 
nation. As she stands in her neat kitchen, talking intently, 
it is clear she is still, ;after all these years, preoccupied with 
the event that changed a nation’s history and permanently 
transformed her life. 

"You know how the bark grows strong around the tree, 
but inside it’s still very tender?” she asks, her voice becom- 
ing softer. "I’m broken inside, let’s put it that way. 

"When I was questioned by the Warren Commission, I 
was a blind kitten. Their questioning left me only one way 
to go: guilty. I made Lee guilty. He never had a fair chance. 
I have that on my conscience. I buried all his chances by 
my statements. I drummed him. 

"But I was only twenty-two then, and I’ve matured 
since; I think differently,” she says. 

"Look, I’m walking; through the woods, trying to find a 
path, just like all of us. The only difference is, I have a 
little bit of insight. Only half the truth has been told. I 
want to find out the whole truth. It may be a bitter truth at 
the end for me. But I want the truth. In America, in this 
wonderful country, you should get the truth.” E 

Copyright © 1988. Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. The copyright of this 
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prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. 

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